In Thursday’s paper, I talked about how local homebuilding permits filed in August were up a whopping 21.7 percent year over year.
Not so positive, however, was the homebuilder sales side, which was down nearly 34 percent from August 2010.
But last month’s local totals are certainly rosier than the national homebuilding landscape. Sales of new homes this year are on pace to reach the lowest level since record-keeping began in 1963, according to The Wall Street Journal.
After peaking in 2005 at 1.3 million units, the annual rate was just 298,000 units in July.
New home builders are struggling to compete against existing homes and foreclosures that are selling for big discounts – a struggle that is now going on nearly five years in some markets. Some builders are keeping business afloat by pulling back on land purchases to conserve money as well as drastically reducing their staff.
For Regency Homes, the leader last month in pulled permits, lower land costs translates to an overwhelming value for the home buyer that’s virtually untouched in comparison to the existing homes market, said company principal Sean Carlson.
“The key is not necessarily the lowest sales prices, but delivering the best value,” Carlson said, while touting amenities such as green features, spa-like baths, gourmet kitchens and bonus rooms. “Obviously, as presale builders, we rely on prospects visiting our model homes and being able to ‘see the difference.’”
Couple those selling points with the current financial market, and it’s easy to see why Regency’s most active subdivision right now, the Gardens of Grays Creek, appeals to new home buyers in a variety of ways.
“The lowest interest rates in over 60 years, financing programs with $0 move-in cash available and valuable tax deductions for home ownership make buying at Grays Creek more affordable than renting and an unbelievable opportunity for homebuyers to take advantage of an almost ‘perfect storm’ for investing in a home today.”